Middle school kids learn money-managing basics at U.S. Airways Center

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- It was a big day of learning for some 2,500 kids at U.S. Airways Center in downtown Phoenix. They were there to learn financial basics, which is something typically not covered in school.

When asking these middle school kids about managing money, I ended up getting various answers.

"Because in life you'll need that, you still need to know how to manage your money," Italy Mar said.

"I would like, save money for it and then get it and then when I don't use it, I could give it to my brothers," Bianca Jaimes said.

I asked Laelani Etheridge if she knew why she was there and she responded with, "Ugh, not really."

The kids are at the arena to be given the groundwork in managing money responsibly, which can be a challenge for a young middle schooler.

"Kids at this age aren't thinking about what it's going to be like when they're 30, 40, 50, Roger Crandall said. "Will I be able to buy a car? Having a down payment for a car. You want to own your own house. When you have kids do you want to send them to college. These things resonate with everybody so we'll talk about those kind of things."

In order to get through to the kids, MassMutual teamed up with some well-known folks --  "CSI Miami" actor Hill Harper and Phoenix Suns players P.J. Tucker and Channing Frye. All of them know just how important money-management skills are.

"My parents tried to teach me about my finances through chores and yard work. And they gave me options, like, do I want the money up front or do I want $5 every day?" Frye said. "They gave me options and explained to me the value of the dollar."

US Airways Center was just one stop on MassMutual's FutureSmart Challenge. By the end of the calendar year, they hope to reach 10,000 kids to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Atlanta.